Navy SEAL Museum Ft. Pierce
Save the Date, The John Hopper Memorial Heroes on the Bluff

The John Hopper Memorial Heroes on the Bluff

A Weekend of Celebration, Commemoration, and Remembrance
September 16 and 17, 2023

In a remarkable display of solidarity and support, the Heroes on The Bluff event emerged another year as a beacon of success through the generosity of the supportive community of Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina. Held at the picturesque venue of ample oaks dripping with equal parts Spanish Moss and Southern charm, this gathering seamlessly blended a powerful fundraising initiative with an inspiring keynote address by the distinguished Jason Redman.

Heroes on The Bluff, organized by a coalition of local, passionate individuals, successfully honored the memory of John Hopper, while raising funds for the Navy SEAL Museum’s Trident House Charities Program, a cause he deeply loved. From the outset, the support surrounding the event was palpable, as community members eagerly anticipated the weekend of events.

The event formally began with the Shoot with SEALs Sporting Clays Tournament at the Palmetto Bluff Shooting Club. Participants enjoyed a beautiful Lowcountry course–and the company and shooting expertise of SEALs at each station. Saturday evening’s dinner brought together supporters from around the country, including longtime friends of John Hopper and event sponsors.

Montage Palmetto Bluff

Sunday gathered friends together for the inaugural Palmetto Bluff Navy SEAL Community Day at Cross Country Field at Longfield Stables. Guests enjoyed a tactical demonstration and special K9 demonstration, followed by special physical training exercises for the kids in attendance. Despite the rain, the day was an exciting success of face painting, fire trucks, and Frogman comradery.

The highlight of the weekend was undeniably Sunday’s Evening of Elegance at Montage Palmetto Bluff where the keynote speech was delivered by Lieutenant (SEAL) Jason Redman, USN (Ret.), renowned author, and motivational speaker. Redman’s presence was magnetic, commanding attention from the moment he stepped onto the stage. His personal journey of resilience, perseverance, and unwavering determination to overcome echoed throughout the ballroom, resonating deeply with the audience.

Through anecdotes that painted a vivid picture of his experiences in the Teams and the challenges he faced, Redman skillfully navigated the complex landscape of adversity. He emphasized the importance of resilience, teamwork, and a positive mindset in overcoming life’s most formidable obstacles. His profound words stirred emotions and ignited a sense of empowerment among attendees. He shared his “Overcome” mantra, urging individuals to take control of their lives and embrace adversity as a catalyst for growth.

The success of the Heroes on The Bluff fundraiser is attributed to the unwavering dedication of the committee and sponsors, but additionally, the community’s collective patriotic spirit. Attendees of the weekend left inspired, carrying with them not only memories of a remarkable event, but also a renewed sense of purpose and a commitment to supporting our warriors who serve and sacrifice in immeasurable ways.

We cannot express our gratitude enough for the tireless efforts of our event host committee, who made it all possible: Shannon and Jeff Begola; Mary and Pete Cawley; Linda and Ted Neely; Michelle and Jeff Solomon; Kris and Matt Kovalcik.


“HotB 2023 was a resounding success and a wonderful reflection of how the Palmetto Bluff community came together to support not only The SEAL Museum’s Trident House charities, but also to honor John Hopper whose love and vision brought Heroes on The Bluff to the Low Country several years ago. R.I.P. John.” – Pete Cawley

“This is the second time we’ve participated in this wonderful event. Like last year, it exceeded our expectations. The speakers were inspirational, underscoring the true value of the Navy SEALs’ service to our country. We were especially pleased with the level of financial support by the sponsors and by those participating in the auction.” -Joe and Nelly Lombardo

Lieutenant (SEAL) Jason Redman, USN (Ret.)
Lieutenant (SEAL) Jason Redman, USN (Ret.)

Special Keynote Speaker

Retired Navy SEAL Jason Redman has defied the odds. He is a severely wounded warrior, NY Times and Amazon bestselling author, veteran advocate, business leader, and acclaimed leadership and resilience speaker. From a leadership failure back to redemption and respect, to being shot eight times including a round to the face in a fierce firefight in Iraq, Jason is the epitome of the Overcome Mindset. Jason now motivates and inspires audiences across the country with his remarkable journey of leadership, redemption, and building a relentless Overcome Mindset. Jason has merged all his lessons learned into relatable content teaching others how to lead themselves, Get off the X and Overcome all.

Jason runs Jason Redman LLC with a focus on helping individuals, companies and teams to “GET OFF THE X” ™ from failure, setbacks, changes and adversity. He provides, speaking, workshops, online programs, executive coaching and business consulting to businesses around the world. Additionally, Jason runs the Overcome Academy, individual and group coaching through his “Pointman for Life” Training and Overcome Army™ group coaching programs along with his Overcome and Survive Defense workshops, training and virtual courses with a focus on being ready for the worst, personally, physically and professionally.

With Gratitude to Our Sponsors

Sponsor- Lydia-And-Stephen-Bartholow

In Loving Memory of John Hopper

John Hopper, Rick Kaiser and Grant Mann

The Museum is deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of our Heroes on The Bluff host, John Hopper. John was a Museum Advisory Board member, enthusiastic advocate, generous supporter, and dear friend. He came to the Museum with an idea to fundraise in Bluffton, South Carolina, and Heroes on The Bluff was born. John founded, built, and grew this event to share his love for country and the SEAL Teams with the community he also so devoutly loved.

John truly loved the Museum and devoted himself to the cause. He was fiercely committed to helping others, and his passion for service was contagious. His larger-than-life personality and ardent nature wooed everyone he met, particularly those he convinced to serve on his Heroes on The Bluff committee. John’s shoes will be impossible to fill, and his absence will be felt by all forever.

We extend our prayers and most sincere condolences to his family, friends, and all of the Palmetto Bluff community during this most difficult time.

John William Hopper, II

March 1, 1958 ~ March 14, 2023 (age 65)

John William Hopper II, of Bluffton, SC passed away on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. He was born on March 1, 1958 in East Liverpool, Ohio to John & Doloras Hopper. After graduating from East Liverpool High School and working in the steel mills of western Pennsylvania over summers to finance his education, John received his BA from Mount Union College and MBA from the University of Pittsburgh. After beginning his career in finance, he earned his Juris Doctorate from the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University where he met Diane Boniface, his beloved wife of 31 years. He and Diane had three children, each of whom he loved equally and who were the center of his life. John’s career took him from Pittsburgh, PA to Birmingham, AL, Cincinnati, OH, and Bluffton. Each step of the way he achieved great professional and personal success — as a corporate counsel, technology CEO, investment banker, and, finally, as an entrepreneur – through his natural determination and talent. John was a force of nature who took great joy in solving problems and building meaningful relationships with those in his life. He was truly a self-made man, and intensely devoted to his family as a proud father and ever-loving husband.
John’s talents afforded him the opportunity to build and live the life he wanted, and he went out of his way to share his life passions with his family and friends. John’s many personal friends will fondly recall his passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers & Penguins, Formula 1 racing, hunting, bourbon, and golf. John enjoyed serving the community through his involvement in the National Navy SEAL Museum where he served on the Advisory Board.
John was loved deeply by those who knew him and will be forever cherished by his wife Diane; children John (Laura Pettersen) of Chicago, Benjamin (Erin Drake) of Jacksonville, and Clair of Pittsburgh; surviving sisters Rebecca Engelhard of Springboro, OH and Jacqueline Craft of Bluffton; 30 nieces and nephews; and countless personal friends and professional associates. He was preceded in death by his parents, John & Doloras, and his sister Cynthia.
The family will hold a Celebration of Life on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at 1 PM at the May River Chapel at Palmetto Bluff, 9 Boat House St, Bluffton, SC 29910. Visitation will begin at 11:30 AM.

In lieu of flowers, John’s family has asked that donations be made to the Navy SEAL Museum in his memory.